The Central government has approved a plan to produce over five lakh AK-203 assault rifles at Korwa in Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi, in what official sources described as an endeavour to provide a big boost to self-reliance in defence manufacturing.
Uttar Pradesh is on way to become a defence manufacturing hub of India, they said. A source said “It reflects the ever increasing paradigm shift in defence acquisition from buy (global) to Make in India. This endeavour will be done in partnership with Russia and reflects the deepening partnership between the two countries in the defence sector."
The project will provide business opportunities to various MSMEs and other defence industries for the supply of raw material and components, which will lead to new employment opportunities, they said. The 7.62 X 39mm caliber AK-203 rifles will replace in-service INSAS Rifle inducted over three decades back.
AK-203 assault rifles, with an effective range of 300 meters, are lightweight, robust and easy to use modern assault rifles with proven technology that will enhance the combat potential of soldiers to adequately meet present and envisaged operational challenges, the sources noted. They will enhance the operational effectiveness of the Indian Army in counterterrorism and counter insurgency operations.
The project will be implemented by a special purpose joint venture called Indo-Russian Rifles Private Ltd (IRRPL). It has been created with erstwhile OFB [now Advanced Weapons and Equipment India Limited (AWEIL) and Munitions India Limited (MIL)] of India and Rosoboronexport (RoE) and concern Kalashnikov of Russia, they said.